Best Rifle Scope for .270 Winchester – Editor’s Choice 2020
Since decades the .270 Winchester is a widely used round for hunting. It comes with moderate recoil, is easily available and allows for consistent shots.
What are the basics of a rifle scope for a 270?
The .270 cartridge was first released in 1925 for Winchester for the Model 54 bolt-action rifle. It is still one of the most popular rounds for hunting larger game including deer, moose, and elk.
Without a scope, the .270 remains accurate up to 400 yards for most shooters in ideal conditions. In some situations, you may need to extend the range. The right scope can help you reach targets up to 600 yards or even beyond.
The .270 rounds are often used for sporting and hunting due to their affordable price and reliable performance.
To improve shooting distances with a 270 rifle, use a scope with quality optics. Typically, the more expensive scopes provide the highest-quality glass while budget scopes use inferior glass. The most noticeable difference is clarity in low light settings or when using high magnification levels.
The coating on the lens also impacts sharpness in different conditions. When using 270 rounds at dusk or dawn, a fully multi-coated lens will provide greater light transmission. Allowing more light through the optics increases the quality of the image through the reticle.
The object lens size also influences light transmission. A larger lens gathers more light, which is necessary for low light conditions. The drawback to larger objective lens size is the weight of the scope. A larger lens increases the weight, which may make your rifle too bulky to carry all day in the field.
40mm to 50mm is the average objective lens size for scopes fitting the .270. If the lens is much smaller, it may not gather enough light for hunting early in the morning or late in the evening.
The Winchester .270 creates medium recoil, the best scopes still offer generous eye relief. The typical eye relief for a scope mounted on a 270 rifle is about 3.5 to 4 inches. Less eye relief requires you to place your eye closer to the reticle, increasing the risk of injury from recoil.
The reticle is another consideration that impacts your targeting. A standard Duplex reticle works well for close range. When you start to reach beyond 200 yards, consider using a bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticle. The circles or dots below the crosshairs help you compensate for bullet drop at longer distances.
Riflescopes for a 270 Winchester may include first focal plane (FFP) or second focal plane (SFP) reticles. The SFP reticle stays the same size no matter the magnification level. This is useful with shorter distances but becomes a disadvantage at long ranges.
FFP reticles change in size based on the magnification. As you zoom in, the reticle zooms in. When using a BDC reticle, the FFP keeps the calculations for bullet drop compensation the same.
When using the scope in certain environments, durability becomes an important detail. Cheap scopes may not hold up well in damp conditions. The best scopes are designed for use in almost any environment. These scopes feature shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof designs, typically with aircraft-quality aluminum tubes.
What magnification do you need for the typical use of a rifle scope for a .270 Winchester?
The typical use of a .270 Winchester is hunting larger animals like deer, antelope or elk. Without a scope, your range may be limited to about 200 yards or less. Beyond 150 yards, the bullets start to drop.
Scopes are available with variable power magnification or fixed magnification. Fixed scopes include one magnification level, such as 4x or 6x. Fixed scopes are best suited for fixed ranges.
When choosing a scope for Winchester .270, you will likely need a variable scope. Variable scopes provide a range of magnification levels to suit different distances.
The average magnification for a versatile .270 riflescope is 4-16x. This provides magnification for close-range shots and longer ranges.
When shooting at targets 200 yards or closer, you do not need a powerful scope. You may even choose to go without a scope. However, if you want to bring your target closer, look for a 1-4x magnification range.
Medium ranges require more power, typically between 4x and 9x. This covers distances between 200 yards and 400 yards for the average deer hunter. If hunting smaller game, you may need more magnification for medium range. A 4-12x scope allows you to track a smaller animal at close or medium range.
One of the main reasons to add a scope to a Winchester 270 rifle is to achieve greater accuracy at long ranges of 400 yards or more. If you want a clean kill at long range, look for scopes with at least 12x to 16x power.
Scopes with 16x to 24x magnification are also available, which may help you get closer to the 600-yard mark or beyond. The quality of the scope becomes more important at higher magnification levels.
When using 24x magnification on a low-quality scope, you will likely notice that the edges of the reticle start to blur. You may also lose visibility in low light conditions. Higher magnification scopes should include fully multi-coated lenses to improve clarity when zooming in.
When choosing a scope with a higher magnification level, you should also pay attention to the field of view (FOV). The size of the lens and the magnification power determine the FOV. As you increase magnification, the FOV decreases. The typical FOV for a .270 scope is around 30 feet when using the lowest magnification setting and seven to ten feet with the highest magnification level.
What are the best scopes for a .270 Winchester?
Based on the features discussed, the following scopes are some of the top recommendations for a 270 Winchester rifle.
Vortex Optics Crossfire 2 4-12×44 Riflescope
The Crossfire 2 is a highly successful mid-range scope from Vortex Optics. The 4-12x configuration with a 44mm scope offers a versatile range for a variety of uses from close-range plinking to long-range hunting.
The Crossfire II has 4-12x magnification and a large 44mm objective lens. The configuration works well with a wide range of uses at any distance with a .270.
4x allows you to quickly set your sights on small game at close range while the 12x magnification is suitable for distances beyond 400 yards. However, the quality decreases at full magnification. The image in the reticle gets a little blurry.
The scope is equipped with a Dead-Hold BDC reticle. This reticle is also versatile, helping you estimate holdover for bullet drops, windage, and movement. With the long eye relief and fast-focus eyepiece, you can quickly acquire your target.
The capped reset turrets include 1/4 MOA clicks. They are finger adjustable and can be reset to zero after you finish sighting in.
As with many modern scopes, the Crossfire II is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged. These features make the scope shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof.
For a scope in this price range, the Crossfire II offers reliable light transmission in most settings. The optics are sharp and crisp at any magnification level while the anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses help keep the image bright and clear.
- The low price and quality features make this one of the best values
- The Dead-Hold BDC reticle provides additional estimates for holdover
- It comes with high-quality glass and fully multi-coated lenses
- The view through the reticle blurs a little at full magnification
Nikon Prostaff 5 BCD Riflescope 4.5-18×40
The Nikon Prostaff 5 is a quality scope featuring high-end optics and dependable spring-loaded turrets for improved performance in any environment.
The Prostaff 5 includes 4.5-18x magnification, providing accurate shots up to several hundred yards depending on conditions and your skill level.
At full magnification, the scope remains clear and crisp. Nikon has decades of experience producing high-quality optics and ensures that your view is not impaired due to cheap glass. The lenses are also fully multi-coated to improve clarity and provide a complete color spectrum.
The scope has a BDC reticle featuring Nikon’s patented see-through ballistic circles. The see-through circles are a nice touch compared to a standard BDC reticle, preventing the markings from limiting the view of your target for shorter-range shots.
While the circles are easy to see through, the lines for the crosshairs are relatively thick. The design is a little chunky but does not significantly limit your view.
The Prostaff 5 has three turrets for windage, elevation, and parallax focus. The knobs are clearly marked and spring-loaded for instant zero reset. You also hear an audible click when adjusting the turrets with 1/4 MOA clicks.
The scope also offers long eye relief. You get a clear field of view at any magnification level even when wearing bulky eye gear.
- The spring-loaded turrets are easy to adjust and hold zero all-day
- It provides superior light transmission for greater clarity and brightness
- The see-through ballistic circles on the BDC reticle improve long-range accuracy
- Some users may find the crosshairs a little thick
Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm Side Focus Riflescope
The Leupold VX-3i LRP stands out for its ultra-lightweight design and clear optics in nasty weather conditions. If you want to reach the maximum range with a 270, this scope should meet your needs.
The VX-3i is a high-end scope with 6.5-20x magnification. This range should cover distances of 200 yards or more. With the full magnification, you may be able to hit a target at 600 yards.
The scope is made from quality parts. It is sealed and nitrogen purged to provide the standard waterproof and shockproof design.
It is designed for use in any condition. With quality glass and internal components, the image is bright and clear at the highest magnification level. The Twilight Max Light Management System provides additional light transmission and glare reduction, adding up to 20 minutes of shooting light. The lenses are also fully multi-coated while the scope has a matte finish to reduce glare.
Instead of an adjustable zoom ring, the VX-3i has a throw lever for adjusting the magnification level. This allows you to quickly switch to any magnification level. It also has Long Range Precision (LRP) adjustments with a dial and revolution indicator for precise settings for windage and elevation.
- Superior clarity, even when dealing with clouds or heavy shade
- Wide magnification range to suit a variety of situations
- LRP adjustments and throw lever that allow for quick adjustments
- Components that are completely machined and assembled in the USA
- The price may not fit every budget
- The throw lever and LRP turrets may not appeal to everyone
Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24 x 50 FFP Riflescope
The Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope comes with an etched illuminated reticle to help the reticle design stand out against dark backgrounds. With the clear reticle, the Argos BRT Riflescope is a suitable option for hunting in low light conditions.
With the Athlon Optics Riflescope, you get 6-24x magnification and a large 50mm objective lens. The 30mm tube, quality glass, and large lens help improve light transmission. You get a clear view on cloudy or overcast days or when hunting at dusk or dawn.
The lenses also feature full multi-coating to provide better light transmission and sharpness. When you use the full 24x magnification, you will likely notice a little less clarity. Overall, the sharpness of the image is decent for a scope in this price range.
The scope is equipped with a first focal plane (FFP) reticle. The lines in the reticle get larger as you zoom in and shrink as you zoom it. The FFP reticle ensures that the distance measured between the hash marks in the reticle stays the same no matter the magnification level.
The APMR IR MIL reticle includes a lot of markings, which may confuse novice marksmen. However, the complicated design helps you account for bullet drop and wind correction for moving targets. These features are useful when hunting at long range with a .270 Winchester.
- The APMR MIL reticle improves accuracy with moving targets
- It provides a wide magnification range, making it a versatile option
- The price is relatively affordable
- The durable design can withstand extreme temperatures and recoil
- The APMR MIL reticle is complicated
Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm Riflescope
The Zeiss Conquest V4 is a durable riflescope with an illuminated reticle and wide magnification range, making it a popular choice for hunting with a .270.
With the Zeiss Conquest V4, you get 6-24x magnification for long ranges. The scope also features 4x zoom instead of the 3x zoom typically found on scopes in this price range. You get greater versatility and range.
The optics are clear in most situations. Thanks to a combination of quality mechanical parts, clear glass, and a large objective lens, the view through the reticle is crisp and sharp. You can use full 24x magnification without noticing blurring.
The scope has a ZMOA SFP reticle. The SFP reticle changes size based on the magnification level. As you magnify the view, the reticle shrinks. With a second focal plane reticle, bullet drop compensation measurements stay the same with any magnification level.
The ZMOA reticle includes MOA markings to help account for holdover for bullet drop and windage. These features become incredibly helpful when shooting at long range or aiming at a moving target.
This is an illuminated rifle scope. The center dot in the reticle is illuminated when activated. It can also be dimmed for any hunting situation.
The one drawback is the weight of the scope. It weighs about 24 ounces, which is twice the weight of some of your other options. After a long day out hunting, the extra weight may take a toll on your arms. The extra weight is most noticeable when holding your rifle at the ready position for a long period, such as when waiting for the perfect shot.
- The optics are exceptionally clear at any magnification level
- It works great in all settings and low light conditions
- The illuminated ZMOA reticle helps improve accuracy at long range
- This is one of the more expensive scopes
- The scope is heavy
Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope
The Primary Arms Classic Series is a slender rifle scope with a 44mm objective lens and an illuminated reticle, recommending for sporting or hunting at any range with a 270 Winchester.
The Primary Arms Classic Series rifle scope has 4-16x magnification and an SFP mil-dot reticle. The SFP reticle stays the same at any size, which is useful when accounting for bullet drop at longer ranges.
The mil-dot reticle is also illuminated and includes the ability to quickly switch between short-range and long-range viewing. The red illumination is powered by a standard CR2032 cell battery and provides 12 brightness settings.
Some users may need illumination to see the reticle design. The markings and lines are small and difficult to see, especially in low light conditions.
As with almost every modern scope, the Primary Arms Classic scope is shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof. It is built for use in any environment. However, it does not have the highest-quality glass. The clarity of the optics decreases in low light and you may notice problems with glare during certain times of the day. However, the optics do not blur as you magnify the scope.
- The turrets are easy to adjust and include clear markings with mil measurements
- The illuminated reticle helps with target acquisition in low light conditions
- The SFP mil-dot design of the reticle increases accuracy for longer ranges
- The lower-quality optics may not work well at dusk or dawn
- The thin reticle design is hard to see without turning on the illumination
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle AO 6-18X 50mm Riflescope
The low-cost Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Riflescope comes with a multi-x reticle and an adjustable objective lens, helping you quickly focus on moving targets at close or medium range.
With 6-18x magnification, the Bushnell Banner Rifle Scope is a versatile choice. The image through the reticle does not focus well at full magnification but you can still hit a bullseye at several hundred yards.
The multi-coated lenses and large 50mm objective lens give the scope better light transmission compared to similar scopes. You get superior brightness and clarity in low light conditions for a budget scope.
The turrets are finger adjustable. As you adjust the 1/4 MOA settings, you hear an audible click. The adjustments for windage and elevation hold under heavy recoil, keeping you from needing to frequently adjust the turrets.
The scope is a little heavy. It weighs over 1.5 pounds, which may wear out your arms after a full day in the field. You should also use caution when storing the scope. It is not the most durable option and the internal components may break if dropped.
- Affordable, entry-level scope
- Wide range of magnification levels
- Turrets that are easy to adjust and hold steady
- The scope is heavy
- The optics are not very clear at full magnification
After comparing options and features, you should have a better idea of the type of scope that you need. For close- to medium-range shooting with a Winchester .270 rifle, you may not need the most powerful scope.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II offers 4-12x magnification. This should suit the most typical uses with a .270. If you plan on shooting long distances beyond several hundred yards, compare scopes with a higher magnification level.
Most of the other choices provide up to 18x or 24x magnification. These scopes also tend to include features that improve light transmission. For example, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope has multi-coating designed specifically for low light settings.
When choosing a scope, the magnification level is not the only consideration. You should also compare the field of view, objective lens size, and overall performance.
In the end, each of the options discussed offers reliable light transmission in most conditions but some are better suited for moving targets while others are suited for close or long-range.
If budget is a major factor, the low-cost scopes such as the Primary Arms Classic Series Riflescope still provide dependable performance for most situations. However, for the clearest image, it helps to spend a little more. Prioritize the features based on your needs to find the best rifle scope for a Winchester 270.
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